Smart appliance company Chef IQ unveiled a new pressure cooker Monday. Yes, even in the midst of a pandemic we are seeing manufacturers move forward with new products, and this one could be an Instant Pot killer.
The $200 Smart Cooker and its companion app offer dozens of ways to master one-pot cooking. The company says the Smart Cooker gives home chefs one device for pressure cooking, slow cooking, searing, sauteing, steaming and other cooking essentials. The pot itself is a six-quart capacity. That's a pretty standard, medium size. Instant Pot offers both four- and eight-quart models in addition to the six-quart. So far, so normal, right?
Here's where it grabs my attention. The Smart Cooker includes an integrated cooking scale inside the pot, so you can add ingredients and see their weight before you mix them or begin cooking. In theory and with good pouring skills, you could add ingredients straight from their containers and forget about measuring cups (and washing them) entirely.
There's also an LED screen with a "cooking calculator" designed to make sure you're getting thing right at every step. That calculator also includes more than 100 quick presets. I've used nearly every Instant Pot out there, and I've never been fully satisfied with the interface and on-screen indicators.
Like Instant Pot, the Smart Cooker has an auto pressure release function with three release methods for various meal types. It can release pressure on its own at the right time and pace for safety and precision.
Connected to all of these features is the Chef IQ app for iOS and Android. Like so many cooking apps out there, you'll find recipes, guided cooking visuals and how-to videos in the Chef IQ app. You can connect the cooker to the app via your home's Wi-Fi network. From there, you can use the app to send cooking data like presets and specific times and temperatures to the cooker. A timer and notifications help you keep an eye on your Smart Cooker.
We tried out the $150 Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi when it came out in 2018. It wasn't bad, but the Wi-Fi experience didn't really add much at all. One of my biggest gripes was the lack of indicators and notifications about your food. Chef IQ seems to have addressed that.
The Chef IQ Smart Cooker will initially be available at Target, for $200, followed by Amazon and the CHEF iQ website later this month. The Chef IQ app is free in the App Store or Google Play Store. Is Chef IQ's high-tech cooker good enough to turn the heads of Instant Pot devotees? I'm not sure. Stay tuned, as we'll be testing out this new pressure cooker very soon.